DSLR Lightweight backpacking / hiking kit

Started May 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Jon Ingram Regular Member • Posts: 166
DSLR Lightweight backpacking / hiking kit

Share your Dslr back-packing / hiking kit and a rationale for the items you carry!

There are a lot of photographers out there that face this issue. That is, how do you obtain perfect image quality in the wilderness without breaking your back in the process!? I have talked with many backpacker / photographers, and there a lot of different philosophies out there. I'm interested to hear what solutions you all have come up with!

My "lightweight" DSLR backpacking kit:

Tripod/ball head:

Gitzo GT0531 carbon fiber tripod: 1.6 lbs

Gitzo GH1781QR ballhead:            12.32 oz

Wide-angle lens:

Nikon 14-24: 2.13lbs

Fotodiox filter solution for polarizer and 10-stop ND: 7 oz?

Everything else lens:

Nikkor 28-200G lens: 11oz


Nikon D800

Battery/cleaning cloth/misc camera gear/bag: 4oz max

Total Weight: About 7.9 lbs tops, sometimes a bit less depending on misc items.

My rationale: My passion is landscape, and I need to make large sellable prints from my gear, so I have prioritized my gear towards this end (d800 w/ 14-24). These two items are heavy! The rest of my gear is optimized to be light. The tripod is super light but easily supports 11 lbs. The 28-200 is super light at 11 oz, and allows me to just have fun on the trail. Admittedly, this is a compromise in photo quality. I used to carry the 50 1.8D + 70-300VR instead of the 28-200G, but I missed a lot of great opportunities on the trail and I ended up carrying way to much weight! I decided since I’m not selling my casual trail snapshots anyway, I might as well save the weight and carry the 28-200 (at f/8 it’s reasonably sharp). Seems like I never miss a trail shot anymore, and I'm happy. I try to go lightweight when backpacking, so my total weight (including food/shelter/pack/ect) ends up being around only 30 -35lbs. So usually my camera gear is about 25% of my total weight. Sometimes I still throw the 50 in, just for fun.

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